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Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

LONDON: Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud Khan played a crucial behind-the-scene role in lobbying US Congressman Rep Dana Rohrabacher, who last week introduced a resolution in the US House, saying the “Baloch nation has a historic right to self-determination.”

 

The News has learnt that the Cardiff based self-exiled Khan of Kalat and Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, held several meetings in European cities in the last few months and discussed the ways of helping Balochistan at the bigger level.

 

In an email exchange, Dana Rohrabacher, the lawmaker behind the effort, confirmed to The News that during his meetings with Khan of Kalat, they “discussed the repression of the people of Balochistan in Pakistan and Iran and their desire for self determination”.

 

The two met, along with many influential representatives from the US think tanks and Congressmen, in Berlin, Germany, only a few days before the Balochistan resolution was introduced in the Senate to the utter revulsion of Pakistan.

 

It was at this meeting that the text of the resolution was also discussed and agreed, which is seen in Pakistan as an attempt to dismember the South Asian country. The US congressman told The News he regarded Khan of Kalat and his family as the “leaders of Baloch” and pledged that he will continue speaking for Balochistan’s separation from Pakistan for as long as the people of Balochistan supported him.

 

He said Balochistan was of vital strategic importance but insurgency-hit, which needed a solution in favour of its people and urged the diaspora nationalist Baloch to support his cause. The bill states that the Baloch “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country, and they should be provided with the opportunity to choose their own status.”

 

When contacted by The News, the Khan of Kalat admitted that he was in contact with the US Congressmen and added: “I have told the US congressmen about our situation with Pakistan since 1947, the human rights violations and the military operations, including the occupation on our sovereignty. I have told US lawmakers that the weaponry being supplied for the ‘war on terror’ is actually aimed at the Baloch people.

 

“Yours and our founding father have a similar history of struggle. I have held several meetings with them and have many more planned in the coming weeks.” Khan further said that he may visit the US soon to highlight the rights violations.

 

The self-exiled refugee Baloch leader, who lives with his family in Cardiff, welcomed the efforts of the US lawmaker and said he was owed a debt by those Baloch who believed in human rights and democracy.